By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
Everyone who receives a paycheck knows that the state always get a cut.
I have heard some say that on a bond issue, the state’s portion is really our money.
They have a point.
Not only does the state collect a portion of our incomes, but they also get a healthy share of everything that sells in Kansas through the sales tax.
We pay quite a bit in taxes to Kansas.
And how does the state use that money?
They have made huge investments in roads on the east side of the state with four-lane projects and infrastructure to encourage more business.
From bridges to highways, we have made a significant investment as the taxpayers of Western Kansas in Eastern development.
Even when the state makes a minor investment in Southwest Kansas, does it come to Liberal?
The regional KDOT office is in Garden City, as is a significant infrastructure investment in bypasses and other road infrastructure.
Not only that, but our state taxes are also being used to kick in more than $40 million for the new high school in Garden City.
Yes, we pay state taxes and have little to show for it.
One way we can get a return on our investment in Kansas is to require the state to support improvements in Liberal through a bond issue, just like Garden City did.
The current school bond is one way we can get some of our state funds invested back in the local community.
If we pass the bond issue, we will be able to get $63.5 million of our state tax dollars invested right here in Liberal.
But if we don’t require them to spend money here, they won’t do it on their own.
This plan is a better financial plan than the plan used in Garden City. They received about half of their project from the state, but the property owners had to pay the other half, or about $45 to $50 million.
Liberal’s plan will only require $36 million from property taxes because of utilizing both the state’s contribution as well as a sales tax.
And we get more for our money. Garden City paid $45 million in local property tax to get a $90 million project. Liberal will only pay $36 million to get a $127 million project thanks to the state contribution and a half-cent sales tax.
So those who say we already pay state tax are 100 percent right. What we don’t get is our money back.
By voting yes, we are requiring the state to spend $63.5 million of state tax dollars on our community rather than another community. It’s about time some Eastern Kansas tax dollars flowed back this direction.
I, for one, would rather keep our state tax dollars here than allow Topeka to spend them on another project somewhere else.
If you agree, then vote yes on the April 8 bond issue.